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Part VI: Appendixes > Choosing a File System

A.4. Choosing a File System

There's one final decision you have to make: which file system you want to use for formatting your hard drive.

Using FDISK to Partition a Drive

If you're an old-time Windows user, the idea of using an old DOS program like FDISK might be no big deal. But scan the following instructions and confirm that they're worth slogging through just to save yourself the price of a simpler formatting program like PartitionMagic. And remember that FDISK erases your entire hard drive. Don't use it until you're confident you have a good backup.

Here, then, is how you'd create a two-partition setup so that you can have Windows 95, 98, or Me installed simultaneously with Windows XP on different partitions. (Note: After you make each selection in the following instructions, press the Enter key to proceed.)

Start up the PC from the Windows 95/98/Me CD-ROM. On the first two screens, choose "Boot from CD-ROM" and then "Start computer with CD-ROM support." After a moment, you wind up at the A:/> prompt; type fdisk.

When asked if you "wish to enable large disk support," accept the Y (yes) option by pressing Enter. The FDISK Options screen appears.

If your drive has already been in use: Choose 3 ("Delete partition or Logical DOS Drive"), then 1 ("Delete Primary DOS Partition"), and then 1 (which corresponds to your C: drive's main partition). Type Y to confirm that you want to wipe it out, then Esc to continue. Continue with the steps in the next paragraph, because your drive is now completely empty.

If your drive is completely empty: On the FDISK Options screen, type 1 ("Create DOS partition or Logical DOS Drive"). On the next screen, choose 1 again ("Create Primary DOS Partition"). After FDISK checks your drive, it asks if you "wish to use the maximum available size." Type N (no, you don't—you want to partition it, dividing its space in half).

After a moment, you're asked for the size you want for the first partition, which will contain the older Windows version. In general, you'll need at least 1500 MB; leave room for your programs, too. So type, for example, 2500, press Enter, and then press Esc to return to FDISK Options. This time, press 2 ("Set active partition") and then, on the next screen, 1 (for the main partition) to establish your first partition as the active one. Press Esc to return to the FDISK Options screen.

Back at FDISK Options, create the second partition by choosing 1 ("Create DOS partition…") and then, on the next screen, 2 ("Create extended DOS partition"). If two partitions are all you need, then you don't have to specify the size of this second one—FDISK automatically proposes using all the space that's left. Just press Enter, then Esc.

FDISK now wants you to format the second partition, which will house Windows XP. Here again, you'll generally want to use the full amount of space available—so just press Enter, then Esc. You're at the FDISK Options screen one last time. Press Esc twice more to say goodbye. Finally, press Ctrl+Alt+Delete to restart the PC.

At last you're ready to install Windows 95, 98, or Me. Start up from its installation CD, choosing "Start Windows Setup from CD-ROM," "Format Drive C:," and "Format this drive (Recommended)" when you get the chance. After a quick disk check by ScanDisk (press X for Exit when it's done), the usual Windows Setup program appears. When you're offered a choice of partitions, allow it to install Windows onto the C:\WINDOWS folder as usual.

When that's all over, just install Windows XP as though you're performing a clean install. Follow the instructions that begin on Section A.5.3, paying special attention to the notes pertaining to dual booting.



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